Reflections of a BAH Winner: Sacramento

Posted by Kyeri Miller
Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA)
May 12, 2014

Each year, Performance-based Standards (PbS) recognizes one correction, one detention/assessment and one community-based residential program that best exemplify the core principal of PbS: treat all youths in custody as one of our own. The Barbara Allen-Hagen (BAH) Award has helped honor facilities and programs who successfully use PbS’ national standards and self-improvement process to achieve positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

The Sacramento County Youth Detention Facility (SCYDF) won the 2013 BAH Award for significantly reducing both the use and duration of isolation/room confinement. PbS recently caught up with the award winning facility, who described the excitement around winning the award, how they’ve sustained the positive changes and words of advice for facilities applying this year.

Receiving the news and the celebration

When SCYDF found out they won the award, management congratulated all the facility staff and spread the news to other divisions, county board members and community stakeholders. The facility gathered all staff and organized a barbeque lunch to celebrate their achievements. SCYDF currently displays the award in the reception area so that all facility staff and visitors can view it as they enter and exit the facility.

The significance of the award

SCYDF felt extremely honored to have made it as finalist for all their accomplishments and improvements but winning the award was a tremendous honor. Even more, SCYDF is the first detention facility to win the award in its category for a second time (the facility won in 2011), which SCYDF described as “an incredible feat that made Sacramento County Probation extremely proud.”

The effect on staff and youths

Winning the award has increased staff-buy in of the PbS program. Staff are now eager and to be involved in the facility’s continuous improvement efforts. This in turn has helped staff better engage with the youths that they impact at the facility.

Sustaining the changes

To help sustain the changes noted in their winning application, SCYDF has made the commitment to continually improve outcomes for youths, staff and families not just during data collections but all year long. SCYDF evaluates policies, procedures and practices regularly for any possible updates or enhancements.

Tips for facilities and programs applying this year

SCYDF encourages that all participants commit to on-going quality assurance. Paying particular attention to critical outcomes is crucial to success and sustainability. It is also important to educate and encourage staff on their impact to the program. SCDYF says that “staff interest and ownership of the positive changes will inspire and lead.” Finally, do not be discouraged! If the data does not reflect an improvement, acknowledge that progress has still been made and culture change takes time.

A special thanks to SCYDF for the words of encouragement and advice for our applicants. The 2014 BAH application will be released to PbS participants on June 2, 2014. Please look out for more news and announcements on the award!

BAH award.jpg
(L-R) PbS Coach Russell Jennings, PbS Site Coordinator Dawn Isais, Assistant Chief Probation Officer Mike Shores, Chief Probation Officer Lee Seale and PbS Executive Director Kim Godfrey

The PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara-Allen Hagen in her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Barbara was dedicated to improving the quality of life for young offenders and has helped drive Performance-based Standards (PbS) to its current success today.

Written by Kyrei Miller